• TFFA Launches Campaign Against Credit Card Skimming at the Pump

  • TFFA Launches Campaign Against Credit Card Skimming at the Pump


    Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018


    Jesus Azanza




    Convenience store industry effort offers tips to avoid skimming; cautions against using Bluetooth as a skimming detection tool

    AUSTIN, TX_JAN. 9, 2018_Consumers in Texas and across the country need to be aware of new threats to their data from credit card skimmers at gas pumps. Today, the Texas Food and Fuel Association (TFFA) launched an online and social media-based campaign to share tips for keeping credit card data safe at the gas pump. The effort includes three public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, a social media campaign and an informational website.

    Credit card skimmers are devices that are illegally installed by thieves in an attempt to steal a consumer’s information.

    “Skimming is an unfortunate part of today’s technology-driven society,” Acevedo says in the video PSAs.  “If you’re concerned about a gas pump’s security, or think you’ve detected a skimmer, report it to the store management immediately.  Convenience stores, law enforcement, and consumers in Texas all play a crucial role in preventing skimming at the pump.”

    “Fortunately, incidents of credit card skimming make up a very small fraction of the over-all fill ups across our state but our industry is committed to arming consumers with the information they need to protect their credit card data,” said Paul Hardin, TFFA president. “Chief Acevedo is a recognized and well-respected leader in law enforcement. We appreciate his commitment to this issue and his partnership with us in our consumer awareness campaign.”

    TFFA is an industry champion comprised of convenience store and fuel marketing businesses that process, transport, and sell refined products made from crude oil. Collectively, TFFA members own, operate, and supply in excess of 12,000 retail, commercial, and agriculture fueling sites across Texas; distribute approximately 9 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel each year; and supply fuels to end users including motorists, aviation, marine, manufacturing, government, agriculture, and construction.

    “The convenience retailing industry is working to combat this issue through employee education, software upgrades, and modernized equipment,” Hardin said.

    According to the TFFA, here are key tips for consumers to stay safe at the pump:

    • Physical examination: when at the pump, check the dispenser door for signs of forced entry. A good indicator of a problem is a door that does not align properly or has unusual scraping or wear around the edges.
    • If the gas pump has security labels, check to see if they have been broken.
    • Pull on the credit card reader and run your fingernail around the edge of the keypad to make sure they are firm and secure; thieves often install overlays that are loose and have a tendency to wiggle.
    • If using a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. If that’s not an option, shield the keypad when entering a PIN.
    • As always, it’s a good idea to monitor credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.

    The food and fuel industry also is working to combat misinformation such as reports encouraging customers to use their Bluetooth to detect skimmers at the pump. Hardin said this method is unreliable for key reasons:

    • A cell phone Bluetooth range can pick up signals from nearby vehicles or bystanders up to 30 feet away.
    • Bluetooth naming is not regulated — while a random string of numbers and letters on a device list might appear suspicious, that does not mean the signal is being emitted from a skimmer on the pump.

    “Using a smartphone’s Bluetooth isn’t an accurate or reliable way to detect the presence of a skimmer,” Hardin concluded. “And doing so may lead to a false positive reading that can cause a pump to be shut down – often for several weeks – which can negatively impact a convenience store, the owners, employees, and customers.”

    Consumers can get the facts on credit card skimmers and gas pumps online at skimmingprevention.org.


    Texas Food & Fuel Association (TFFA), headquartered in Austin, TX, is a statewide leader in the fuel marketing and convenience retailing industries.  Since in 1949, TFFA had enabled the success of its members by serving as an advocate and resource for the industry before both governmental authorities and the public